OPINION: The Northern Girls coming home to celebrate 50 years

Faith Keelan Capern (front row, second from left) and some fellow classmates from Northern’s ‘Class of 1969’ at one of their recent reunions. Photo courtesy, Faith Capern

Phil Egan

“And the Northern girls with the way they kiss,                                                                                                                       they keep their boyfriends warm at night”

When Brian Wilson and Mike Love of the Beach Boys penned those lines for California Girl, they weren’t thinking of the girls of Sarnia’s Northern Collegiate.

But whenever I hear that 1965 song they’re exactly who come to mind.

My dear and lifelong friend Faith Keelan Capern was a student at Northern, and though I ended up marrying a Central girl, Faith introduced me to many of her classmates and I dated several of them.

After they graduated from Grade 13 in 1969 the girls, to paraphrase poet William Butler Yeats, scattered “like autumn leaves before the keen winter winds” — from Vancouver to Nova Scotia and New York to L.A. — to many communities far from Sarnia.

Faith married one of Canada’s top aviation professionals and moved to Winnipeg, then Toronto, and finally to Ottawa before landing in London.

But those girls forged friendships so deep that, wherever they are, they’ve kept in touch and get together as often as possible. They’ve met in places like Las Vegas, Bayfield, Grand Bend and cottages on Jack Lake in the Kawarthas, with ‘60s tunes blasting out across the water. As the years passed the group has grown larger, with as many as 17 attending one recent gathering.

So, when I learned that Northern Girls from across North America were coming home on Saturday, Oct. 5th to mark the 50th anniversary of their high school graduation, memories of summer days (and nights) came flooding back.

They plan to gather at their old high school cafeteria to share photos, swap tales and remember the days when school was finally over and the rest of their lives just beginning. A banquet will follow, giving “the 69ers” a chance to catch-up and, they hope, expand their reunion group in anticipation of future reunions to come.

If you graduated Grade 13 at Northern Collegiate in 1969 and want to be part of the fun of a 50th High School Reunion, contact Helen Ellenor at helenellenor@shaw.ca or Peggy Kinsman at pkinsman50@icloud.com and join the party. The guys are welcome too.

You can also drop a note to Peggy at Box 1276, Wingham, Ontario, N0G 2W0.

Fifty years may have gone by since graduation, but my favourite Northern Girls are still as memorable and captivating as when I first met them five decades ago.